Just under half of UK salons (48%) and a quarter of spas (22%) now use LED technology in express facials, according to our latest Insider statistics. With the industry’s focus fixed on how technological advancements can give clients the skin of their dreams, coupled with a largely demanding, time-poor clientele, it’s time the rest of you got tech-savvy. We look at how you can easily incorporate everything from laser to oxygen therapy into quick treatments to deliver results that impress clients and put more money in your pocket.
Oxygen infusion may have been overtaken as the most talked-about facial treatment technology, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as a speedy, efficacious skin fix. “Cryo oxygen is excellent in an express facial as it allows you to carry out an advanced treatment but with minimal redness to the skin, thanks to its calming and cooling action,” says Sadie Smith, training manager at Crystal Clear. “It’s excellent as a lunchtime facial before an event.”
Use it to energise the skin in conjunction with microneedling in a 30-minute treatment, as in Crystal Clear’s new H2O Glow treatment. Smith suggests a 10-minute application of oxygen infusion followed by one pass over the face with a roller, incorporating a serum suited to the skin’s needs. Follow this with another five minutes of oxygen then a brightening mask. Using Crystal Clear’s Comcit machine, Smith recommends charging £75, but salons with other equipment could charge the same for a similar protocol.
Hailed for its muscle-tightening and skin-lifting abilities, microcurrent is a great addition to a detoxifying, brightening facial. Just a short application of the electricity-charged wands to the skin can give a de-puffed, lifted effect, especially when combined with complementary tech and souped-up ingredients. This was the thinking behind Caci’s SPED technology, present in the Synergy device.
The tech blends red and blue LED light therapy with microcurrent for an extrastimulating effect on skin tissue, promoting accelerated regeneration and collagen production.
“There’s an option for flash LED, which drives the lights deeper into the tissue for healing and stimulating collagen production, or continuous LED, which works on the upper layers of skin,” explains Caci trainer Nina Hardy.
Salons can create simple express treatments by targeting microcurrent application to one area, such as the neck and jawline, as in Caci’s 15-minute Jowl Lift treatment. This can be followed with a drainage massage using a serum containing hydrating hyaluronic acid and detoxifying algae extracts, as these aid microcurrent in increasing drainage and helping improve skin texture.
Phototherapy has become one of the most popular additions to traditional, hands-on facials, thanks to its accessibility and the wide range of indications it can help treat. So much so that LED devices brand Dermalux created a range of 10-minute post-treatment protocols that are programmed into its units, making it easier for therapists to add a tech element into a speedy treatment.
“It means clients can have a quick Dermalux session to complement other facial treatments as part of an ongoing skin health plan, or they can just drop in for a booster between treatments,” explains Dermalux director Louise Taylor.
Quick resurfacing treatments such as microdermabrasion will allow you to achieve even better results with skin-rejuvenating red light, adds Taylor. “Doing an exfoliation beforehand allows more light penetration into the skin’s deepest layers because you’ve already pre-stimulated the blood flow. Red light wavelengths target iron in the blood, so you’re going to get faster absorption of the light,” she explains. “So, in this case, a 10-minute protocol on pre-stimulated skin would give the same results as 20 minutes on nonstimulated skin.”
Similarly, 10 minutes under near infrared, as in Dermalux’s calming post-procedure protocol, lends itself well to skin that’s just undergone a resurfacing peel. “These kinds of treatments can be quite hard for clinics to sell because even though results are fantastic, people are put off by downtime,” says Taylor. “One of the key benefits of adding phototherapy is to minimise that downtime, reducing redness and irritation. Controlling the negative responses from other treatments is a great use for near infrared,” she adds.
While the initial outlay on equipment must be factored in, the ongoing cost of providing a 10-minute LED session is a few pence, meaning salons don’t have to charge as much as they might think to make it a profitable addition to treatments. Taylor advises adding £20 to £25 for post-procedure LED to the price of an express facial.
Advances in laser technology mean therapists can blast clients’ skin issues or simply leave them fresher faced in as little as 30 minutes with no downtime, making them a great option for a standalone express facial or a speedy add-on to an existing treatment.
The 3Juve facial machine by Lynton Lasers, for example, uses a fractional ablative laser (2940nm) to target the epidermis and cause renewal and retexturing of the surface of the skin. In particular, this type of laser is a great go-to for clients concerned with lines and wrinkles, deep acne scarring and stretch marks, says Kirsty Turnbull, a clinical trainer for Lynton Lasers. “The ablative laser is fantastic at resurfacing the skin as well as being the strongest at stimulating collagen. When it’s used in an express way, the client can be in and out in 30 minutes.”
She says many therapists use the laser modality alongside the machine’s IPL technology if the client also has redness or pigmentation they want to treat, as it works on eradicating discolouration. Salons that have a standalone fractional ablative laser could consider using it in conjunction with an AHA peel like glycolic, lactic or mandelic for a quick but effective express treatment.
“An AHA peel will allow the technologies to penetrate deeper and give a better result. Therapists often combine the two or possibly do a peel seven days before laser,” says Turnbull.
Even during an express treatment, don’t forget to treat and protect the skin post-laser. A hydrating serum containing calming and soothing ingredients will help cool any erythema. Salons and clinics could charge up to £175 for an express 30-minute laser treatment with Lynton’s 3Juve.
Downtime has become almost as big of a consideration as price for many clients when choosing whether to invest in an advanced treatment. Enter microneedling – acting on the superficial skin layers, it gives fresh, glowing skin in as little as 25 minutes with no downtime. “It’s a convenient express facial that gives instant results,” says Amanda Ramsay, an educator for Nouveau Skin Therapy, which distributes the Dermatude Meta Therapy microneedling device. “It ticks all the boxes that today’s clients demand – quick, convenient and no downtime.”
A device like Dermatude, which creates 2,700 micro-perforations per second, leaves the skin’s top layer intact while delivering active ingredients to the basal layer where cells’ reparative response is stimulated. “Any immediate erythema usually settles within 15 to 30 minutes, so returning to work straight afterwards is possible,” adds Ramsay.
After a quick needling session, the microperforations remain open for around 15 minutes, so therapists can maximise even a short treatment time by applying a sheet mask rich in hydrating, rejuvenating active ingredients like peptides for five minutes. A bio-cellulose mask has the added benefit of cooling the skin post-needling.
Dermatude infuses skin with one of four complementary serums, depending on the skin’s needs, but salons using a different device could apply product with similar ingredients before needling. For example, the Extreme Lifting Complex contains vitamins A, C, & E, while the Pigment Equaliser uses brightening extracts such as arctostaphylos (bearberry extract).
“Looking at treatment cost, technology is the winner,” says Ramsay. “Consumers want results and for the most part they’re timepoor, so they fully embrace today’s modern facials despite a higher cost than traditional treatments.” She says salons could charge between £80 and £100 for an express needling facial.
“Radiofrequency is ideal as an add-on to an express facial after the cleansing step and before application of subsequent products for a client wanting to see anti-ageing benefits,” says Stephanie Hassall, head of training at Thalgo. The brand’s multifunctional iBeauty machine uses tri-polar radiofrequency alongside sound vibrations and sequential ultrasound.
Radiofrequency gives a blast of plumping and firming action by generating energy that densifies skin tissue, contracting and tightening collagen fibres and boosting the metabolism of the fibroblasts, explains Hassall. For this reason it lends itself perfectly to supercharging an anti-ageing facial, and can give results in as little as 15 minutes.
Try combining radiofrequency with manual massage using lifting movements and products rich in high-quality hyaluronic acid. “The complexion is smoother, lines are plumped and skin tissue is firmer,” says Hassall. Salons could look at charging around £15 on top of the cost of an express facial for 15 minutes of radiofrequency.